"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Might Be A Homeschool Resource Junkie If...

The title of one of Maureen's posts reminded me of this email I got early in the year. So fitting for this time of year!

20 Signs You Are a Homeschool Resource Junkie

  • Every wall in your house has a bookshelf and you are contemplating how to hang more from the ceiling.
  • You wakened groggy the morning after a curriculum fair, unable to remember how many you books you bought or how much you spent? You shake in fear at the thought of looking at the receipts.
  • You ordered a fourth filing cabinet because the 1-3 are overflowing with curriculum catalogs.
  • The local owners of used bookstores invite you to their kids birthday parties.
  • The flash cards fall out of your craft closet and bury your toddler and large dog.
  • Your night stand is toppling over and there are large tumbling stacks on the floor. with books that, yes, block the path to the bathroom but give you great comfort and inspiration.
  • You can't read a full curriculum review on the Internet without clicking through to see if you can afford it.
  • You were on the first waiting list for a Kindle.
  • The librarian greets you with "Oh, you again!
  • Your mailman ask for another route because of that homeschool mom and all those book deliveries (even after you installed the super duper humongous mailbox he still can't fit ALL the packages in).
  • Amazon denies you a renewal of Prime Shipping.
  • You schedule your family vacations around different states' homeschool conventions.
  • You would not think of going to the doctor or dentist, without book bag stuffed with several genre options.
  • When you finish a book you get this awful empty feeling, like you just pulled the plug on a loved one.
  • You lend out your curriculum to your homeschooling friends but don't tell them you've never used it yourself.
  • You made the decision to purchase your home based on the built in book shelves.
  • Your hubby put his photo in your curriculum catalog stack to remind you of what he looks like.
  • Your collection contains more books than any family with 20 children could possibly read in one lifetime
  • You buy what looks like the greatest curriculum ever the curriculum fair only to get home to find you bought the same one two years ago.
  • Your children refer to Borders and Barnes & Noble as dangerous places. They know once you go in they might not see you for days.
  • You visit Library Thing and Shelfari daily.
Any others you would add?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

OneNote and Lesson Planning

I am an organizer. In fact, I have a tendency to organize the things I am doing more than actually doing them (ugh!)

Because I create my own curriculum, lesson planning involves pulling together resources--books, files, and web links. In the past I would create Word files and school folders to get this stuff together. It was O.K.

Recently OneNote was discussed on a homeschool forum, and everyone was raving about it. I realized I already had this program installed on my computer as part of Office 2007, so I gave it a try. Now I'm raving about it!

The program is designed like a notebooks. You can have as many notebooks as you like. Within each notebook are tabs. You can insert as many tabs, or even grouped tabs as you like. In each tab there are pages, and even subpages of which you can insert as many as you like.

The pages are more dynamic than Word documents. You can put the cursor anywhere on the page and start typing, and a new text box is created. These boxes can be moved around anywhere on the page. You can insert files, links to files, web links, pictures, web clippings, tables, spreadsheets, whatever!

I have started lesson planning for next year, and this has been the most useful tool I have ever used for this because I can easily put everything in one place. For an ecclectic Charlotte Mason homeschooler, it's a great resource!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Garden

With my Dh so busy first finishing off the rebuilt room and now rebuilding the deck, we were not sure if we would put the garden in again this year. Last year was our first and we were pleased with the harvest from our little plot that only gets 4 or 5 hours of sun a day.

I decided I would see what I could do. I actually found the thyme and the chives came back--which is not too surprising as they are quite hardy.

The boys also informed me that some onions were also growing! I think they are leeks that we never harvested last year, since I doubt they are scallions being the size that they are. So I left them to grow.

After raking out all the leaves and trying to turn the soil by hand myself, Dh came over with the spade and had the plot turned over within an hour. I went out with the boys to go plant shopping!

The bottom picture is the finished garden after the boys and I got all the plants in the soil and watered them with Miracle Grow. We added 8 tomato plants (and we're planning for 4 more) 2 mounds of 5 cucumber seeds, 2 pepper plants (1 red, 1 yellow), 3 zucchini plants, a row of bush bean seeds (maybe 10), and the herb section to which I added parsley (Italian, of course) and basil.

As you can see the shade is already creeping over and it's only 3 pm. We'll see what kind of harvest we amateur gardeners get this second season of growing!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Robins Have Hatched

Ds#3 called me last night to tell me the babies had hatched in the nest!

We only see two babies, though we had 3 eggs in the nest.

Momma bird is busy feeding these hungry little guys!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lincoln Event

The Asa Waters Mansion held a 200th birthday celebration weekend for President Abraham Lincoln. We went for the afternoon and had a wonderful time at the gorgeous mansion and grounds.

They had a Union army encampment, and President Lincoln himself there. Mr. Lincoln arrived by Wells Fargo, and guests could get in as well.

One of the featured events was the cake decorating contest. They had several categories: under 12, 13 to 18, adult, and professional.

Paula's daughter recreated the Lincoln Memorial using gingerbread cake and lemon frosting. (Anyone that has read d'Aulaire's book about Linclon knows how much he loved gingerbread!)

She took first place in her class--congratulations!

The event culminated with a fascinating talk based on all the portraits of Lincoln. A narrator would discuss the circumstances around the portrait and then the Lincoln actor would speak the president's words. What a wonderful history lesson!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Robin outside our window

If you sit in the overstuffed chair in the living room, where we don't sit much any more since we expanded the family room, and look out the window you can see a robin in her next not two feet away in the rhododendron bush.

When she flies off you can see the beautifully constructed and sturdy nest.

And if you peek inside the nest you will see a wonderful surprise...

Hands-on Homeschool Carnival #8

As we all start to think even a little about next year, here are some wonderful ideas you can sneak in for the end of this year or plan to include in the next. I am sure you will be inspired!

Jenafer presents Our First Camping Trip of the Season Completed posted at Cage Free Monkeys.

Brenda Sain presents Albrecht Durer, a German Renaissance Artist posted at The Tie That Binds Us.

Martha presents Oz Land posted at Sunrise to Sunset.

Shannon presents Wild and Wonderful Weather: Odds and Ends posted at Song of My Heart.

Cheryl, our wonderful blog manager, presents Penny Toss Game posted at Talking to Myself.

Cindy presents Science Activity Bags posted at Our Journey Westward.

~Kris~ presents Step-by-Step: Making a Castle Presentation Board posted at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

And finally I present France Projects posted at Science of Relations.

Relax and read :o)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

France Projects

We changed the format of our geography group study, God's Country Club, to better suit our younger learners. We have 3 families, 10 kids, the oldest two being 10 years old. Several weeks of presenting material got to be hard on the moms and the younger kids.

For our France segment, we announced the country 2 weeks before the first class. During the first class the lead mother cooks the main dish, while the other two moms bring a side dish and a snack. (I made baguettes, of course.) The kids thoroughly enjoy the food aspect of GCC!

The lead mother next presents all the geographic facts about that country. She then has the kids pick projects to present during the next class in two weeks.

Two weeks later, after another cultural lunch, the kids present their projects. Ds#1 did a report about France during WWII. Ds#2 did a report about the origins of the Tricolore, or French flag. With 8 of the 10 kids presenting projects, the group learned a lot of interesting, if focused, information about France.

We're ending for the year since one of the moms will be having her baby within the next three weeks, but we'll pick up again in September!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

JourneyEd homeschool discount

Did you know that many software companies offer deep discounts to teachers and college students?

JourneyEd is an academic software vendor that carries these products, though they, like most vendors, require proof of academic status. While I was looking over their purchase requirements page, I noticed that they offer their products to homeschoolers, too.

Home Schooling:
Those who are home schooling must provide a valid photo ID, and a copy of one of the following:

  • Letter of intent to home school addressed to local school district for current school year.
  • Home School Legal Defense Association membership card.
  • Home School Charter School membership card.
  • Book/curriculum receipt for the current year.

They have Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro for 99.98 until the end of the month!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What do you want offered?

Homeschool Connections is filling out its offerings of online courses, seminars, and free webinars and want to know what you homeschoolers want to see offered.

Please take the survey to let Maureen and Walter know!